We spent a good many years covering environmental issues, including the role played by corporations and the nation’s largest university system in building on polluted land.
We were first stirred to concern for our impact on the environment in 1962 when we read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the book that inspired the rise of the modern environmental movement in the last half of the 20th Century.
The movement became so significant that a Reoubkican President [and a loathed one at that] created the Environmental Protection Agency,
And while Donald Trump may share a leak paranoia with Agent Orange, he’s anything but Richard Nixon when it comes to the environment.
An agency dismembered
While Trump and many of his appointees called for outright elimination of the EPA, realism set in.
That and the beginning of the death by a thousand cuts, starting with a story from Newsweek written as the initial proposed budget cuts were revealed:
The proposal, sent to the EPA [last week], would cut into grants that support American Indian tribes and energy efficiency initiatives, according to the source, who read the document to Reuters.
State grants for lead cleanup, for example, would be cut 30 percent to $9.8 million. Grants to help native tribes combat pollution would be cut 30 percent to $45.8 million. An EPA climate protection program on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases like methane that contribute to global warming would be cut 70 percent to $29 million.
The proposal would cut funding for the brownfields industrial site cleanup program by 42 percent to $14.7 million. It would also reduce funding for enforcing pollution laws by 11 percent to $153 million.
The budget did not cut state revolving funds for programs, that Congress tapped last year to provide aid to Flint, Michigan, for its lead pollution crisis.
All staff at a research program, called Global Change Research, as well as 37 other programs would be cut under the plan.
As Bloomberg notes:
More than 40 percent of EPA’s budget – about $3.5 billion – is dedicated to state and tribal grants used to pay for staff and support an array of programs, including initiatives that protect drinking water. State clean air and water programs also benefit.
That means the disproportionate burden will fall on states, most of which have Republican-controlled legislatures and chief executives.
So it’s unlikely most states will replace the lost funds, and layoffs will ensue.
Also impacted will be city government, losing both federal funds and monies from the states.
Given that the burdens of pollution fall disproportionately on the poor, life expectancies may decline.
Hey, but he’s makin’ Ahmurka great agin, ain’t he?
The latest development: Still more cuts
Needless to say, climate research is involved.
Scientific American puts it i context:
The administration is seeking a nearly 20 percent cut to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s budget, including to its satellite division, The Washington Post reported. That includes significant cuts to the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, which has produced research that disproved the notion of a global warming pause. NOAA’s satellites provide invaluable data on climate change that are used by researchers throughout the world. The NOAA cuts target the Office of Ocean and Atmospheric Research, which conducts the bulk of the agency’s climate research.
That’s on top of proposed reductions to climate research at U.S. EPA, including a 40 percent cut to the Office of Research and Development, which runs much of EPA’s major research. The cuts specify work on climate change, air and water quality, and chemical safety. The Trump administration also has proposed 20 percent staffing reduction at EPA.
More than a dozen federal agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey, the Interior Department and the Department of Energy, conduct climate research. Further cuts are expected, particularly at NASA, which develops and launches the satellites that provide invaluable information on climate change used throughout the world. President Trump has called global warming a “hoax,” and some congressional Republicans pushing for climate science cuts have falsely claimed that federal scientists are engaged in a massive conspiracy to defraud the American public into thinking that human activity is causing the planet to warm.
About a third of the American economy relies on weather, climate and natural hazard data, said Chris McEntee, president of the American Geophysical Union, the nation’s largest scientific organization. She said much of the federal scientific research and data comes from multiple agencies working together, so cutting one will have a ripple effect.
“It’s not just one agency, it’s a holistic view here, and cutting one piece also has an impact on the whole enterprise of what we get out of science from the federal government that enables us to have the kinds of tools and information we need to protect the infrastructure, to protect lives, to protect public safety, and to give us knowledge and information to make a more effective economy and country,” she said.
After the jump, more cuts, the threats to a massive database and efforts to preserve them, and a case of class war. . . Continue reading